English...and Science!

This week, the JumpStart Costa Rica 2013 team is joined by two special guests from Mexico´s Adopt a Talent Program (PAUTA), Janet Verjovsky and Richard Cisneros. In Mexico, PAUTA works with underprivileged youth who demonstrate academic talent by providing them with educational opportunities in science and math designed in collaboration with some of the nation´s top scholars. Additionally, PAUTA offers training to teachers to improve how science and math courses are taught in schools. The organization promotes an academic model whereby the teacher takes on the role of facilitator instead of providing students with all the answers. PAUTA´s lessons present kids with a problem and then challenge them to discover a solution, thereby pushing them to think critically and be creative.

Richard from PAUTA working with JumpStart
students in Sabalito de Coto Brus
So, why involve an organization focused on science education with JumpStart? In science, English is the lingua franca of research. For an engineer, doctor, mathematician, chemist, or professional working in virtually any other field of science or math, fluency in English can make him her her better poised to contribute to and learn from the international conversation surrounding their speciality. For that reason, we´re working to turn JumpStart into a program that provides students in Costa Rica with support in both English and science, and that also promotes greater collaboration between teachers of those two subjects.

Janet from PAUTA in La Cruz de Guanacaste
Las Friday, Janet and Richard presented alongside Marta Blanco, our Executive Director here at Costa Rica Multilingüe, about the relationship between English and science at Costa Rica´s annual National Conference for Teachers of English (NCTE). After a trip to the Irazú Volcano on Saturday, they headed in separate directions to integrate PAUTA lessons into two of this year´s JumpStart camps. Currently Richard is working with Darien, the Peace Corps Volunteer in Sabalito, at her JumpStart camp in the local high school. Janet, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the country working with Taylor in La Cruz. With students in these communities, Janet and Richard are facilitating lessons on topics ranging from astronomy to physics. In Mexico they teach exclusively in Spanish. For JumpStart, however, they are integrating English into their science activities.

Here at CRML we are so excited for this new collaboration and the opportunities it presents for the future! This Friday, Janet will be in Liberia for the JumpStart graduation ceremony there, and Richard will be in Puerto Jiménez. Shortly after they´ll be heading back to Mexico. We will definitely be staying in touch!